Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hot summer nights

I slept on the terrace a couple of weeks ago. It was such a beautiful evening that my husband and I just couldn’t resist lying beneath the stars as we dozed off into the land of dreams... that, and the fact that our bedroom had been unbearably hot.
As we lay there, counting the shooting stars above us, my husband had just closed his eyes when I saw the most magnificent one. It was the biggest, brightest shooting star I had ever seen and he had missed it. I was convinced it must have been some kind of comet... he was convinced it was probably something man made. We agreed to disagree.
Anyway, again we drifted off to sleep, only to be awoken a few hours later feeling a trifle chilly. I nipped inside and lugged our huge duvet cover outside and we snuggled up and dropped off again. Another couple of hours went by and I was woken by the feeling of something crawling on me... everywhere. I screeched and leapt up, rudely awaking my other half in the process. We didn’t even stop to see what it was. We just shook ourselves silly and shot inside to the comfort of our bed – fan on high to try to keep us cool.
The next morning as I gingerly stepped onto the terrace, I noticed hundreds of giant flying ants all over the duvet. I shuddered. I could have been smothered by those things. I could have been smothered to death (an image of my lifeless body creeps into my mind... death by giant ants...urgh). Ok... so maybe I am a bit of a drama queen sometimes.
That was the first time we had slept under the stars on our terrace. It would most definitely be the last.
Since that episode, we have, finally, had air conditioning fitted into our bedroom! After nearly eleven years of living in a hot apartment by the sea and three years of living in a warm villa in the country, we can finally sleep in a cool room in the summer. What utter bliss. For years we have, like many other expats here, have settled for the humble fan. A fantastic invention, of course, but it has nothing on the air conditioning unit. My skin is starting to feel dry and, with the lack of fresh air throughout the night, our oxygen levels are clearly lower than usual, but we have a cool bedroom! At the moment, nothing else matters! It could be sucking the life out of me, for all I care. It’s a cool bedroom!
Contrary to popular belief, it can get incredibly cold out here during the winter months. It’s not cold enough for snow but we often find a frost covering the ground first thing in the morning, particularly in January and February. Even though it is this chilly, my husband still insists on sleeping with a wide open window. “We need the fresh air”, he says. Perhaps now I have a good bargaining tool, “you didn’t say that when we had the air conditioning on in the summer”. What can he say to that? Not a lot really.